The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Cover The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
World War II Historical Fiction
Dial Press
May 5th 2009
ebook, paperback, audiobook, hardcover
290

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX FILM • A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

“Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is the swoon-worthy historical fiction tale set during the aftermath of WW2 that will make you immediately want to watch come to life on screen (if you haven’t already). An epistolary book that is equal parts charming and thrilling, “The Guernsey” book will make you stay up late into the night getting to know the characters as the delicious plot unfolds.

 I’m usually not drawn to historical romances, but there are always books that entice me out of my comfort zone. I credit these books to great blurbs, excellent reviews, and yes, sometimes even movies. After watching the same-titled  Netflix adaptation of “The Guernsey” book, I was immediately intrigued mostly because the film embodies a classic romantic premise: a slow burn, “friends to lovers” storyline between Juliet and Dawsey. This is a first for me, because I almost always read the book before watching the movie.

When I started “The Guernsey” book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, I was immediately hooked. The reader is introduced to Juliet and Dawsey’s relationship right from the beginning, which continues to unfold throughout the duration of the book. Depicting life during post-WW2 Europe, the story centers on our protagonist, Juliet Ashton, who is an author searching for her next story and to rebuild her life along with the rest of London. The letters from the Society members (as well as a few others thrown in for a bit of controversy), seem to leap off the page as they are so full of vividly intense description of occupied Guernsey and post-war life. The way Juliet cultivates friendships on a little island in the English Channel all the way from London is both impressive and heart-warming to experience as a reader. It should come as no surprise that all of the letters are both achingly poignant, yet filled with such charm that it’s hard to not think of these characters as actual people.

Similar to the books that are so dear to Juliet and the Literary Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have been able to weave in elements in that gripped me until the very end; a mystery enshrouding the Literary Society, love found and love lost, finding oneself in the most unusual places and most importantly: learning to embrace what life has in store for you.

I think one of the most beautiful aspects of “The Guernsey” book is something in which all readers can relate: Juliet (like us all) has been searching for meaning in her life, which has just been turned on end by WW2. Just like the people of the Literary Society, books have become a mainstay and an escape during the biggest events of her life thus far. This I believe is one of the more relatable aspects of the book as well. As a bookworm, I felt an immediate understanding regarding how a person could be so profoundly affected by a book that it becomes a focal point in their life. I’m sure other fellow bookworms will also agree with me.

From start to finish, the journey on which we follow Juliet is not one to miss.

I highly recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (and the film too!)

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